In a time when what happens online can easily influence the offline world, social influencer Hannah Olateju from London takes a refreshing approach. She gracefully handles cruel comments, trolling, and even stalking. Olateju credits this to her experience of growing up in a loving home.
The 20-year-old beauty and fashion guru currently has 103,000 followers on Instagram (@hannahtheamputee) and has already worked with big-name brands, which includes online fashion retailer Boohoo. Olateju was just two years old when her lower arms and legs were amputated due to meningitis. Today, the business student has defied obstacles and carved out a profitable social media career, which has allowed her to earn five-figure sums every few months.
Despite her success, Olateju isn’t spared from social media’s cruel side. “People were commenting on my disability but also saying that I looked like a drag queen when I was just wearing extravagant makeup,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
As a child, Olateju was carefree, and she grew up in a loving home. She carried the confidence she gained from her childhood to her adult years, which makes dealing with harsh comments a bit easier.
“The trolling doesn’t bother me, I know who I am, and I have a very selective brain. These are just people on the internet. Social media is all fake,” she said.
In a video interview with the BBC in February, Oletaju said that she refuses to ‘hide behind a curtain’ because of her disability and hopes to inspire others to chase their dreams.
“When I was younger, I never really saw people like myself on TV. So I became that example for myself. I think of all the other millions of girls out there who need someone who’s inspiring, who has faced the odds, and who wants that person to say, it’s okay, it’s okay to be yourself,” she said.
In the past year, Olateju stopped posting on the social media platform temporarily so she could focus on her studies. But she’s ready to return to Instagram, this time focusing more on motivating people. She has already set up collaborations with brands.
Olateju’s family is mainly supportive of her endeavors on social media. Still, her father emphasizes the importance of finishing her studies, so she has a career to fall back on.
Olateju hopes to get a more traditional job, such as becoming a lawyer, while also finding a way to continue creating content on social media.
“I want to inspire other people, to make people feel good or to help them look at their situation differently. You can be differently-abled, still dress well, and still have nice makeup,” she said.